Key witness in casino fraud case found dead
Two and a half years ago, Robert Pellegrini, former Vice President of Player Development at the Mohegan Sun Pocono was charged with defrauding the casino. He, along with his co-conspirators, was able to steal over $400,000 from the casino and was sent last year federal prison. Now, a key witness in that case has been found dead, his body floating in Mill Creek in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
28-year-old Matthew Crane was working as a dealer at the casino when the theft occurred in 2015. He was a prime witness and the individual who reported the activity to casino officials. His body was found in the creek by passers-by this past Saturday. The cause of death has not been released and an official autopsy is expected to be conducted today.
In 2015 and 2016, Pelligrini, along with cocktail waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj and patron Mark Heltzel, concocted a scheme to copy players identification cards for their own use. Pelligrini was initially charged with 177 counts for theft, identity theft, conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and illegal use of a computer. He and Heltzel ultimately pleaded down to one count of felony conspiracy to commit money laundering. Pelligrini received 32 months for the crime and isn't expected to be released until October of next year. Heltzel was given 18 months but is, according to federal inmate records, enrolled in a "Residential Re-entry Management" program in Philadelphia. The program allows certain non-violent offenders to reside in a halfway house or be placed on home confinement. Several sources have said that Heltzel has been living at home and is not currently in a halfway house.